Which Countries Are Set to Attract the Highest Skilled Workers from Abroad?

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For the world’s most innovative companies, the stated goal of attracting top talent is not simply an HR mantra – it’s a matter of survival.

Whether we’re talking about a giant like Google that is constantly searching to add world-class engineers or we’re talking about a startup that needs a visionary to shape products of the future, innovative companies require access to high-skilled workers to stay ahead of their competition.

The Global Search for Talent

There’s no doubt that top companies will go out of their way to bring in highly-skilled workers, even if they must look internationally to find the best of the best.

However, part of this recruitment process is not necessarily under their control. The reality is that countries themselves have different policies that affect how easy it is to attract people, educate and develop them, and retain the best workers – and these factors can either empower or undermine talent recruitment efforts.

Today’s infographic comes from KDM Engineering, and it breaks down the top 25 countries in attracting high-skilled workers.

If attracting the best people isn’t hard enough, there is another factor that can complicate things: the best people are sometimes not found locally or even nationally.

For top companies, recruitment is a global game – and it’s partially driven by the policies of governments as well as the quality of life within their countries’ borders.

Top Countries for Attracting High-Skilled Workers

Using data from the United Nations and the Global Talent Competitive Index, here are the top 10 countries that are the best at attracting and retaining highly-skilled workers.

They are ordered by overall rank, but their sub-category ranks are also displayed:

Overall Rank Country Enable Attract Grow Retain Migrants
#1 🇨🇭 Switzerland #2 #5 #5 #1 2,438,702
#2 🇸🇬 Singapore #1 #1 #13 #7 2,543,638
#3 🇬🇧 United Kingdom #8 #11 #7 #5 8,543,120
#4 🇺🇸 United States #11 #16 #2 #8 46,627,102
#5 🇸🇪 Sweden #9 #13 #8 #4 1,639,771
#6 🇦🇺 Australia #17 #6 #9 #14 6,763,663
#7 🇱🇺 Luxembourg #21 #2 #17 #3 249,325
#8 🇩🇰 Denmark #3 #15 #3 #15 572,520
#9 🇫🇮 Finland #6 #21 #4 #9 315,881
#10 🇳🇴 Norway #13 #14 #10 #2 741,813

The subcategory ranks are defined as follows:

  • Enable: Status of regulatory and market landscapes in country
  • Attract: Ability to attract companies and people with needed competencies
  • Grow: Ability to offer high-quality education, apprenticeships, and training
  • Retain: Indicates quality of life in country

According to the data, Switzerland (#1) and Singapore (#2) are the two best countries for attaining and keeping high-skilled workers.

While the regulatory environments in both of these countries are well-known by reputation, perhaps what’s more surprising is that Singapore scores the #1 rank in the “Attract” subcategory, while Switzerland is the #1 country for retaining talent based on quality of life.

Another data point that stands out?

The United States has a higher total migrant population (46.6 million) than all of the countries on the top 10 list combined. Not surprisingly, the massive U.S. economy also has a high ranking in the “Grow” category, which represents available opportunities to bring high-skilled workers to the next level through education and training.

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